From Kimberlee Combs
July 2001

The migration and travails of these families are closely associated with the early history of the Mormon Church. In 1830, Joseph Smith and his associates in Palmyra, New York, established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In January, 1831, Smith moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and many of the Whitings and other families in Geauga and Portage Counties became converts to the new church. Kirtland is in Geauga County and about 30 miles northwest of Nelson in Portage County. Smith is alleged to have had a divine revelation that a new Zion was to be created at Independence, Missouri, and at his urging, followers of the new Church began settling in the area in 1831. From Christensen(1)*:

The greater part of the Hulet family, together with their grandson and nephew, William E. Whiting, his wife and young son arrived in Jackson County, Missouri In 1832. Lyman Wight and Christian Whitmer lived six miles west of Independence. The Hulets and Whitings became their neighbors in the Whitmer Settlement.
A map (not reproduced) shows early Mormon settlements. This and later maps are from (2).
*Sources and notes are at the end of this section.

In April 1832 trouble began between the Mormons and Missourians. The Missourians, many of whom had migrated from the South and were pro-slavery, regarded the Mormons as Yankees. The Missourians felt that their society was threatened by the continual influx of Mormons. Religious customs, which united the Latter-day Saints socially, economically, and politically, irritated the Missourians.

Max H. Parkin (2) describes the ensuing violence against the Mormons:

In the summer of 1833, mob violence against the Mormons commenced at Independence, but it was not until the last day of October that mobs attacked the Saints in Kaw Township. A mob first assaulted the Whitmer settlement, tore off the roofs of several houses, whipped the men, and terrified the women and children; two days later a mob attacked Mormons at the blue River Settlement and took over the Rockwell ferry. On November 4, when a mob again attacked the Whitmer Settlement, a skirmish - known as the Battle above the Blue - ensued, leaving one Mormon mortally wounded, two citizens dead, and several on both sides wounded [including William Whiting].

On November 5, Mormons from Kaw Township rallied to assist members at Independence; state militiamen disarmed them and left them to the mercy of the armed citizens, who for several days raided all the settlements and drove the Mormons from the county. Most of the 1,200 Saints who fled withdrew north to Clay County, but some traveled south to Van Buren or east to LaFayette and other counties.

The frightful circumstances surrounding the departure of the Saints often left them without food or adequate clothing. After scattering into Clay County, they set up emergency shelters along the Missouri River Bottom. Some suffering Mormons returned to Jackson County for provisions, but were beaten and sent away."

Later, in 1839, Joseph Smith directed Church members to prepare affidavits describing their experiences and losses to try to get compensation from the US Government. Lydia B. English's affidavit from (3):
Individual Affidavits from the National Archives ENGLISH, Lydia B. In the year of 1832, Myself & husband William Whiting of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints moved to Jackson Co Missourie with the addition of eleven families more. we was greatly prospered through our industry for the first year, when insults and threats were becoming very frequent. in october the matter became alarming, a company of the old Settlers of the State met above big blue and were determined that our houses Should be thrown down at night we got the word at sunset, and gathered at different houses for Safety, leaving many alone, when at ten oclock we heard the logs begin to fall from of the buildings. At twelve they got to Peter Whitmers senior where several families had collected and not many rods from the house that we were in. their first attact was to the door and window while some mounted the house and began to throw off the roof while they were throwing stones and clubs in at every chance they could get the women who had crawled into the chamber with their children began to scream & beg for mercey while these barbarous ruffians in the shape of human beings were whipping and hounding their husbands and fathers with clubs and stones. all got from the house and made for the woods as fast as possible, and frightned nearley out of their senses. We being astonished at the horrible noise scarcely knew what to do but in a moment all made for the woods as fast as their feet could carry them. I was then the mother of three children a boy two years old and a pair of twin babes but five weeks old my babes were taken by two young girls. and the boy I took and followed after, but getting sepperated I could find but one of my twins untill morning fortunately the woods was near. we sat down to listen and heard them throw the roof of my house, and chimney down. doors and windows were broken in a chair shop and chairs shared the same fate the same night I heard the roofs of ten buildings, leveled to the ground, no one was killed but some were badly hurt astonishing to think we ware driven from our homes and many were out cold frosty nights in Oct and November with nothing for a shelter but the Starry heavens. but this was not enough to satisfy their vengence. they came the next week with a large company hunting for and shooting at our men: they feeling it their duty to stand in the dfence of us their wives and (---) children, as well at as themselves, returned the fire. My husband (---) received a ball through his foot, which mangled the bones and caused him great distress and it was a great while a healing and I fear his hardships and privations was the cause of his Death which happned the next october the next day our men went to Independence to try for peace but I believe that the most they obtained was fair promises, and their guns taken from them, which they have never received to this day. The next day after their arms were delivered up the mob marched their band through our settlement enquiring for our fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons and threatning what they would do if they should find them or to us if we would not tell where they were they finally ordered us off in three days or death Should be our portion. what a time of trouble women running in every direction trying to get some one to carry them out of the reach of these deamons of human shape. my husband with many others had fled to Clay Co for their lives as they had been most severly threatned. they as soon as possible sent waggons to carry us awy widow Lydia B English
(The above petition is not sworn or dated. However, the following fragment is very similar to the above petition and is sworn and dated, although unsigned. The fragment may have been written at the same time as the petition.)
woods frightend nearly out of their senses. We being astonis(h) at the horible noise scarely knew what to do but in a minit all made for the woods fast as they ould get away. I give my two babes (which was but five weeks old) to two young girls which started. I took my boy two ye(ar) old and followed both did not see but one of then for three hours. fortunately the woods was nigh, we sat do(wn) to listen I heard them throw the roof of my house and chimney down doors and windows broken in peaces chair shop and chairs had the same fate. I heard the roof pulled from ten buildings that same night no one was killed but badly hurt Astonishing to think we were driven from our houses and homes many of us had to stay out coal from nights in Oct and Nov with no other Shelter than the star(y) heavens. this did not satisfy the mob for they came came the next week with a large company and fired (on) our men, which onely wanted their rights, re(turn) the fire my husband was wounded was ever afflicted with the same untill his death (which was next Oct) Our men went the next day to Indipendence to make peace, if poss(ib)le. Lieut. Boggs had ordered out the Malitia, and demanded their arms, promised peace and safety for three weeks and all their arms when they left the County.

Jan. 8t 1840

(Sworn to before J. Orr, J.P., Adams Co., IL 8 Jan 1840.)
In another petition from (3) now in the LDS Historical Department, Lydia claimed damages against the State of Missouri.

May 10 1839
Loss and damage against the state of Missouri

Expense of moving to Missouri $130.00
Loss in Jackson Co house & chair shop land & garden vegetables 1,500.00
My husband Wm Whiting being wounded by the Mob in Jackson Co the exposures & hardships were to much for his feeble constitution to bear he died in Oct following the pain & distress of his body as well as mind, likewise the distress of my family all sick at once the hardships & privations caused by such a violation of the laws of the Land, the disstress of mind, driven from home in the chily month of Nov to seek a home among strangers, no money can amply atone for such losses & crosses 5,000.00

My second husband deceased

Moveing to Caldwell 35.00

Moveing to Illinois 130.00

Driven the third time from home in cold winter being exposed to cold rain and snow & all troubles 1,500.00
(Total) 8,295.00

Lydia B English
More extracts from Christensen:
William Whiting died in Clay County, Missouri 21 October 1834 and left Lydia with three small children.

On 24 May 1835 in Clay County, William Whiting's widow, Lydia was married to Charles English. Hiriam Page performed the ceremony. (Marriage Register of Clay County. Compiled by Nann Lucille Car.)

The Mormons found only temporary relief in Clay County and by 1836, most had moved northeast into Caldwell County as shown on a map.

We know very little about Charles English or his children. In the above affidavit dated May 10, 1839, Lydia states that her second husband is deceased, so presumably he died in Caldwell County, or enroute to Illinois, but we do not know the date, place, or cause of death. Charles' and Lydia's son, Charles H., was alive in 1908 according to Gary Whiting. According to Christensen, "Charles was living in Hamberg (IA) in later years."

Friction between the Missourians and Mormons continued in Caldwell County resulting in armed conflicts. In the fall of 1838, Missouri Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued his infamous order to the militia to drive the Mormons out of the state or kill them in the process. By March 1839, the Mormons had abandoned all settlements in Missouri and had moved into Illinois and Iowa. Probable routes are shown on the following map. It seems likely that Lydia and her five children, and Charles English, if still alive, traveled to Illinois with Elisha Whiting, Sally, and other Whitings.

According to Christensen, the Whitings came to the "Morley Settlement" near Lima, Illinois. Also:

William E. Whiting's family was found in the record of membership of Lima Stake. The record showed Lydia B. Babcock with children; Edmond W., Mary M. and Martha B. Whiting. Mary and Martha, the twins, were listed as under eight years; also Morenda, A. English and Charles H. English were under eight years. That pointed to the fact that Lydia had been widowed a second time and had married a third husband named Babcock. She and her children were listed as members of the Lima Stake when it was organized in 1840.
Curiously, she did not marry Babcock until 1841.

The 1840 Federal census for Lima, Adams Co. Illinois shows Lydia B. English as the head of a family:

Males under 5                1        Charles H. English
Males 5 under 10           1        Edmond W. Whiting
Females under 5             1        Morenda A. English
Females 5 under 10        2      Mary & Martha Whiting
Females 30 under 40     1      Lydia B. English
John J. Babcock and Lydia B. English were married by T. W. Cox, MG, on June 2, 1841. (4). Lydia was a widow with five children and Babcock presumably a widower with four: Lucretia, Clarrisa, Sylvia, and Elias.

Although the earlier settlers in Illinois had initially welcomed the Mormons driven from Missouri, once again there was friction and mob violence. In the fall of 1845, the Mormons began to gather in Nauvoo for protection and to prepare for a westward migration in the spring. The exodus began in March, 1846. According to Christensen:

The people known to have been traveling in that immediate group which left Nauvoo were: Elisha and Sally Hulet Whiting with their unmarried sons, Sylvester, Almond, and Francis Lewis. Also with Elisha were his widowed daughters-in-law, the former wives of William and Charles Whiting. Their families were composed of William's three children, plus two sons born to Lydia by her second husband, Charles English. Also, Martha Hurlburt Whiting and her three children went along. Chancey and Editha Ann Morley Whiting, with their children were in the group. So were Amos and Philena Morley Cox and their three children. Orville and Elvira Cox and two children were part of the group. F. Walter and Emeline Whiting Cox were there with their five children. In the wagon with Edwin Whiting rode Mary Cox Whiting and Jemima Losee Cox.

An incident in the Journal History is quoted as follows:

28 March 1846. The main camp still remained on Chariton Riverů A boy by the name of Edmund Whiting shot an otter at the bend of the river; he afterwards discovered that the otter was caught in a trap; he took off the skin and carried it to camp, leaving the trap on the bank. In the course of the day the trapper, who lived a short distance off, came into camp and stated that he had eight traps in the neighborhood, and had lost six of them, intimating that the Camp had stolen them; but this was not believed. In the evening, the Council heard what the boy had done with the otter skin and called him into the post office with the skin, when he related all his doings concerning the matter.

The council were satisfied that he meant no harm and instructed him to go early in the morning and bring the trap, and take it and the skin to the trapper in company with Stephen Markham. President Young instructed Brother Markham to say to the man that if one of his traps were found in the camp within one thousand miles of the place, it should be sent back to him with the man that took it.

30 March 1846. Stephan Markham reported that he could not find Edmund Whiting, the boy that shot the otter in the trap and that he had returned the skin to Mr. Davis, the trapper, who was satisfied with the actions of the officer of the Camp.

Note that there is no mention of John Babcock, nor his children.

The Whitings and related families went on west to a temporary camp they called "Mt Pisgah" (near present Talmage, IA, about 170 miles west of Nauvoo).

A sizable tract of ground at Mt. Pisgah was fenced, the ground was plowed and planted to crops. The families went to work to build temporary homes. Walter Cox built two huts for his family. The Whitings again built a chair shop. Walter Cox cut down trees, split the trunks and made benches for a little school in a grove. The lower benches were for seats and the higher benches for desks.
Christensen mentions Edmond Whiting several times. In response to a request from Mormon leaders for volunteers to serve in the war with Mexico, Edmond and his uncle Almon were mustered into service at Council Bluffs on July 16, 1846. After their return from service in the "Mormon Battalion" (5), presumably 1847, they helped establish a new settlement called Silver Creek or Cutler's Settlement (between present day Silver City and Malvern). Chauncey, Sylvester, and Lewis Whiting were also among those involved.

Neither Edmond nor Almon is mentioned in the 1850 US census of Pottawatomie Co, IA, but Chauncey and his family are, as is a group of young Whiting people living together: Sylvester - 24, Louis - 22, Abner - 20, Mary - 17, Martha - 16, Cordelia - 14, and Elisha - 12. The last three seem likely to be the children of Martha Manna Hurlburt Whiting, who died at Winter Quarters, near present day Omaha, during the spring of 1847. We have wondered if the Mary - 17 could be 'our' Mary, but, if so, where was her twin sister Martha?

According to Christensen, Edmond Whiting married Augusta McConoughly on July 19, 1857. His family is listed in the Federal Censuses of 1860 for Fremont Co and in the 1870, 1880, and 1900 censuses for Page Co. He died June 12, 1908 in Shenandoah, IA. According to Christensen, he spent one winter in Minnesota, presumably with other "Cutlerites" in Clitherall, but then returned to southwestern Iowa. His oldest son, William Elisha Whiting was born in Manti on Jan. 25, 1862, became a physician, and in 1890 moved to Brush, CO, the home of his first cousin, Rena Bell McGinnis, and her husband, John. The Colorado State Business Directories for 1895 and 1896 list him as physician and postmaster, and also in the drug business with McGinnis. Dr. Whiting died of typhoid fever on Feb 11, 1896, and was buried near the graves of Rena and John McGinnis in the Brush Cemetary.

Other information we have collected indicates that John Babcock, Lydia, and their children went up to Red Rock, Iowa, instead of going farther west as did many of the Whitings and related families. According to Donnel (6), a John Babcock, his wife, and seven children settled in Marion Co in 1845 to 1847.

John Babcock was also a native of Ohio. When he settled here his family consisted of a wife and seven children, mostly girls. He was a Mormon in faith, and his wife was a member of that church. At one time during a period of six weeks, his family was reduced to the verge of starvation, subsisting almost entirely on nettles boiled for greens. On rare occasions they obtained a piece of corn bread from Mike Morris. This kind of diet produced a change in their complexions from a natural to a dark, greenish hue suggestive of poor health.
Another book (7) mentions John Babcock as a precinct judge in an election held on Sept 1, 1845. Maybe Babcock went up to Red Rock before the main Mormon exodus from Navoo in early 1846.

The Iowa State Census for Marion Co in 1847 lists John Babcock as the head of a family of 11 persons.

The 1850 Federal Census for Marion Co lists the Babcock family as:

                         Age       Birthplace
John Babcock             39 NY
Elizabeth Babcock      30 OH
Sylvia Babcock           13 OH
Elias Babcock              10 IL
Simeon Babcock            4 IA
The question, of course, is what has happened to Lydia and the kids she had with Whiting and English. We have not been able to find out more about Lydia who presumably died before 1850. Also, we do not know anything about Babcock's spouse, Elizabeth. As mentioned earlier, Edmond Whiting went on to western Iowa in 1846. His half-brother, Charles H. English "was living in nearby Hamburg (Fremont Co) in later years", although we do not know when he went there.

The probate records for John Babcock, who died in early 1854, give his heirs (presumably direct descendants):

Lucretia Babcock
Clarrisa Babcock
Sylvia Babcock Karr
Elias Babcock
Simeon Babcock
Mary E Babcock
The last three were listed as minors. Since the first three were not minors, they must have been born in the 1830's, ie, the children of a wife before Lydia. We have assumed that Babcock married Elizabeth after Lydia died, that they had one child, Mary E Babcock, and that Elizabeth died before Babcock. An interesting note is that Jackson Bell was the initial administrator of Babcock's estate.

Jackson Bell applied for the guardianship of Elias on June 30, 1855. After Elias died, John Karr was appointed the administrator of his estate.

The 1856 Iowa State Census for Marion Co, Iowa, shows that Simeon and Mary Babcock were living with their sister, Sylvia and her husband, John Karr.

In the cemetery records (9), we found the graves of Sylvia Karr, 1838-1878, and John Karr, 1832 -1879, which had been moved to Price Cemetery from a Red Rock cemetery (presumably because of flooding by the Red Rock Reservoir). However, we found nothing about the Babcocks.


  1. Christensen, Clare B., Before & After Mt. Pisgah, Salt Lake City, 1979. LDS Family History Library Call No. 929.273, C 839c
  2. Brown, S. Kent et al, Editors, Historical Atlas of Mormanism, Simon & Schuster, New York.
  3. Johnston, Clark V., Mormon Redress Petitions, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1992. LDS Family History Library Call No. 977.8, K29j
  4. Adams County, Illinois marriage records, ca. 1825-1926, LDS Family History Library Film #1870158, Item 2-3
  5. Larson, Carl V., A Database of the Mormon Battalion, Second Edition, LDS Family History Library Call No USKAN, 973, M2Lar, 1997
  6. Donnel, William M., Pioneers of Marion County Des Moines: Republican Stearn Printing House, 1872, LDS Family History Library Film #0989481, Item 4.
  7. Wright, John W., History of Marion County Iowa and It's People, S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1915.
  8. Marriage Records of Marion County, Iowa, 1845-1915, by the Marion County, Iowa Genealogical Society, Walsworth Publishing Co, Marceline, Missouri, 1980.
  9. Cemeteries of Marion County, Iowa, Marion County Genealogical Society, 1976, LDS Family History Library Call No. 977.7835, V3m
Whiting Genealogy

Along with Christensen's book, a major source of information on the Whiting and related families was the genealogy provided by Karen Marie and Bud A. Whiting.

According to the genealogy, the Whiting line goes back from William E. five generations in Connecticut (Elisha Jr, born 1785; Elisha Sr., 1762; William, 1736; Colonel John, 1693; and Joseph, 1645) and a sixth to Major William Whiting born 1605 in England. Gary Whiting's notes indicate that the name Whiting is too common and the records too vague to trace this line further with confidence. The women's lines go much further back in England, however. For example, Colonel John's wife, Anne Allyn can be traced 16 generations back to both Sir Roger Chichester (born ~ 1336, Sussex, England) and Robert Gifford (born ~ 1100). Jersuha Lord, wife of William Whiting (1736), has the best documented family tree. The longest lines go back 15 generations to Robert de Kinewharton, 20 each to Vivian de Besford, William de la Spine, and Richard de Burley; 22 each to Thomas Andrew and Lawrentius Belgrave; and 25 generations to Walter Ridware (~1155). To relate this to us, add five to each of these numbers to get to Mary and Martha and five more to get to Adam and Alex Duke Leong!

Approaching those Whitings closer to home, Elisha Whiting, Sr.'s wife was Susanna Butler, four generations each from Deacon Richard Butler (~1600 in England) and George Hubbard (~1580). Elisha Whiting, Jr.'s wife, Sally Hulet, can be traced five generations to John Howlett (1620), seven to Thomas Hathorne (~1490 in England), and nine to Major William Whiting (1605-- same person as in the Whiting line, reminding us that we are all related). Family legend says that Sally Hulet's mother, Mary Lewis was part Indian, a great granddaughter of a Mohawk Indian named Running Deer. It is said that descendents of Mary Lewis were dark, high-cheekboned people. If true, our proportion of Native American inheritance (not counting other unknowns) would be 1/64 for Mary and Martha Whiting, 1/512 for Dad, and 1/2048 for Adam. In general, though, we could say the Whiting line is thoroughly English and thoroughly rooted in colonial America.

From Gary Whiting:
1. Lydia was possibly related to Dr. P. Hurlburt.
2. Charles H. English & Simon Babcock were alive in 1908.
3. Lydia had a stepdaughter, Clarissa Aye, father unknown.


Hurlburt Family

Hurlbut, Hulbert, Hulburt, Hurlbert, Hurlburt, are all possible spellings of Lydia's surname. Mary and Martha's brother, Edmond W., Named two of his children after Lydia: one was Nettie Lydia Whiting, the other Charles Hulbert Whiting, so perhaps this is the correct spelling.

According to Christensen:

On Sept 16, 1835, Joseph Smith met with the presidency in Kirtland. F. Walter Cox and Sally Emeline Whiting were married by Joseph Smith at the Hurlbert home in Geauga County that day. Charles Whiting [William's brother] and Martha Mana Hurlbert [Lydia's sister?] were also married that day.
Lydia's birthplace, based on Federal census data presumably given to census takers by her children, Edmond, Mary, and Martha, seems most likely to be Ohio or Vermont. Edmond gave Ohio (1880 and 1900 censuses of Iowa), Mary gave Maine, Vermont, and Ohio (1880, 1900, and 1910 censuses of Colorado), and Martha gave Vermont (1880 and 1910 censuses of Colorado).

Birthplace of Martha and Mary Whiting

Although given as Independence, MO, in obituaries, it was probably in the "Whitmer Settlement", about seven miles west of Independence. (see text and referenced map).

Birthplace and Birthdates of Morenda and Charles H. English

Location and range of dates are assumed from the marriage date of their parents and dates of the forced migration of Mormon families.

Family Lore

Grace M. Duke wrote in a letter to Grace Coombe a few things about her ancestors. She was told that a sister named Elizabeth and two brothers immigrated to America. The brothers divided up the money and papers. One was lost overboard and "made it bad later-no complete records." She understood that it was the Hurlbets (as spelled in the letter) who immigrated.

Another story, as Marguerite Kaufmann remembered it, was about when Mary and Martha were children and the family was homesteading near a river. The parents drove a buggy to town, leaving the children at home. Someone came down the river and warned them that the world was ending. The kids moved all of the household belongings out of the house and up on a hill, much to the parents' surprise at the end of the day.

One of the more appealing family legends is the possibility that Mary and Martha were related in some way to Kit Carson. Marguerite remembers visiting her mother, Grace, at the old home in Hotchkiss. Grace had borrowed a bunch of books from the library on Carson. When asked what the story was, she said she was trying to figure out how she could have been related to Kit Carson. Even though he was such a famous character, the Willoughbys and Whitings apparently didn't talk much about it. As Grace was told, "He married an Indian.